Newsmax’s right-wing panel show “The Right Squad” was reduced to an incomprehensible screaming match Friday during a debate over the killing of Jordan Neely.
Neely, a homeless street artist, was choked to death by U.S. Marine veteran Daniel Penny on a New York subway earlier this month after the former began shouting he was hungry, thirsty and had little to live for. Neely had allegedly been acting erratically prior to Penny’s chokehold, but had not attacked anyone, a witness who recorded the incident told CNN. Neely’s death was ruled a homicide, and Penny has been charged with second-degree manslaughter for the fatal choke.
Newsmax host Jenn Pellegrino asked the panel if these charges marked “the beginning of the end of the Good Samaritan,” which sparked a lively shouting duel amongst the pundits.
“You know, it certainly seems that way in [Manhattan District Attorney Alvin] Bragg’s New York City,” Pellegrino continued. “I mean he goes after former President Trump, he’s focused on that, but the people that are out there either defending themselves from violent crime or defending others…”
“There was no violent crime though,” retorted political analyst Jason Nichols, to which Pellegrino replied, “He was threatening people.”
“No, but there was no violent crime,” Nichols said. “He didn’t attack anyone. Violent crime means someone was attacked. Nobody was attacked. If someone looks at me wrong or screams at me, should I kill them? Should I choke them to death? Should I come up behind them and put them in a rear naked choke?”
“Probably, yeah,” “The Right Squad” host Chris Plante replied. “If he’s threatening to murder people on a subway train.”
Several voices raised all at once, leading to an incoherent cacophony of shouting.
“He did not threaten, he said he was hungry…” Nichols argued. “And being mentally ill is not a crime. Being hungry is not a crime. Being homeless is not a crime.”
“We need to address the whole situation,” former Arizona Gubernatorial candidate and news anchor Kari Lake chimed in. “It’s so frightening to walk down the street and you have somebody who’s either on something or severely mentally ill and we’re just supposed to look away and act like nothing’s happening, or if somebody is getting right up our face, ignore it.”
“We’re afraid to act,” Lake continued. “We need to address this. We spend a fortune in taxes and what is it getting us? Unsafe streets. We can’t even defend ourselves, not just in this case but there’s other cases where somebody is hurting someone, and people are going to be afraid to defend themselves or help others.”
Penny surrendered to the police Friday, leaving the New York police precinct in handcuffs before being arraigned and released.